“Morning at the Elizabeth Arch” by Joe Weil

Joe Weil


The winos rise as beautiful as deer.
Look how they stagger from their sleep
as if the morning were a river
against which they contend.

This is not a sentiment
filled with the disdain
of human pity.
They turn in the mind,
they turn
beyond the human order.

One scratches his head and yawns.
Another rakes a hand
through slick mats of thinning hair.
They blink and the street litter moves
its slow, liturgical way.
A third falls back
bracing himself on an arm.

At river’s edge, the deer stand poised.
One breaks the spell of his reflection with a hoof
and, struggling, begins to cross.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007


Joe Weil: “I’m a fairly good piano player and I fake it on guitar. I play a five string, mostly to incite obsessive-compulsive guitarists to riot. As I’ve told them, you only need three strings to make a chord. When I’m not playing piano or faking it on the guitar, I work as an instructor in the Graduate and Undergraduate Creative Writing program at SUNY, Binghamton. I have one hot chili pepper on rate my professor dot com. Since my mother is dead, I can’t possibly figure out who gave it to me.”

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